Apps to help you learn English

The following is a list of apps to help you learn English; I’ve avoided the common ones and have focused on some which are not specifically designed for English study, yet can be used for both studying English and studying whatever else you please.

Following this link for this post in Portuguese.

 

IA Writer

IA Writer is a minimalistic writing app available for IOS and Android. While it hasn’t developed as much for Android, on IOS (both iPhone and iPad) it is feature rich and comes with a particularly useful feature for English students which can help you learn English. It’s called the syntax mode, whereby each adjective, noun, adverb, verb, and conjunction is coloured differently. This helps you identify, as you write, whether you are underusing, or overusing certain words.

It also includes a focus mode, which fades out the paragraphs, sentences, and even words which you are not currently typing on. This allows you to focus on a one sentence at a time, without being distracted by the rest of the text, similar to the typewriter of bygone years, where you would only read the line you were typing on. From this, you should be able to perfect your writing style to make it more concise, which is essential for non-fiction, particularly business and academic work.

(IOS $8.99, Android Free, though not half as good). Website

LiquidText

LiquidText on the iPad is a superb PDF reader and note-taker. It allows you to highlight passages of interest, in your case useful collocations, idiomatic expressions, and new vocabulary. What makes it stand out from the competition though is that highlighted notes can be dragged anywhere, even towards the bottom of the screen into a blank space. This means that your notes are always visible whatever page you are on. Notes can also be exported, which again isn’t common for a PDF reader. The app is completely free, but for researchers and academics, the option to view two PDFs simultaneously is available for a one-time in-app purchase.

VerseRemind

One of my favourite Android apps, it allows you to memorise passages of your choosing. While the original intent of the app was to learn Bible passages off by heart, the Bible passages can be deleted and your own text inserted and grouped into categories. These could be idiomatic expressions or sentences which you have created using new words. If you are preparing for an interview in English, you could use it memorise key points that you want the interviewer to know. A reminder is set to go off whenever you want to remind you to do the exercise, which starts off easily with only one or two words blank, then gets trickier as you progress through the levels until you reach level six where the whole text has been blanked out.
EDIT: The app appears to have been removed from the app store. However, look for memorisation apps and you should be able to find another which allows you to edit the text into something worth memorising.

Google Go

A relatively new app from Google with one particularly useful feature for learners of English in which at a click of a button the whole website is read aloud. Despite being a computerised voice, it is still believable and can certainly help learners of English listen to the pronunciation of words while you read. The default (x2) is at a natural speed, however this can be reduced to x1 speed which may be better suited for learners. What’s more, as the robotic lady is speaking, the words are highlighted at the bottom of the screen making it far easier to follow along. The app is completely free and won’t take up much space on your phone. Be warned though, I’ve only tested it on my phone which is in English, using a phone whose (here, ‘whose’ means ‘which’, just in case you’re curious) language is Portuguese may result in undesirable pronunciations. If that is the case, try downloading the English voice pack in Google settings, or alternatively, changing the phone’s language to English.

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